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Again, 'Follower' is able to evoke the taut accuracy of the ploughman by itself evincing just such an accuracy: the poem tells how the memory of his expert father now stumbles behind him just as he himself once stumbled as a boy behind the plough. The wheel has come full circle, and the poet needs to manifest an expertness which is a counterpart of that skilled authority which he so poignantly remembers from childhood. Needs to, not merely in order to write the poem, but because self-respect and mutual respect insist that working with words is no less dignified, no more prissy, than working with earth.

39. Corcoran, Seamus Heaney, p. 9. 40. Seep. 127 below. 41. Seep. 119 below. 42. Seep. 127 below. 43. Pp. 223-4 below. 44. P. 144 below. See Longley's words on p. 32 below: 'his poetry suffers when he forsakes the hovering suggestiveness of thresholds'. ) goes beyond thresholds. 45. Seep. 144 below. 46. ' Jonathan Culler, On Deconstruction (London, 1983), p. 86. 47. (London, 1988). Docherty gives references to this edition throughout. 48. It is in the nature of Docherty's strategy that I can only approximate to his meaning in this account of pp.

Only 'Strange Fruit' questions its own attitude, challenges inevitability: Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible Beheaded girl, outstaring axe And beatification, outstaring What had begun to feel like reverence. The frank adjectives capsize what has previously been rather a decorative dawdle of a sonnet ('Pash of tallow, perishable treasure'; 'Diodorus Siculus confessed/ His gradual ease among the likes of this'). They also capsize a good deal else in North. ' 24 'Bog Queen' has the advantage of dealing directly with the goddess herself, so that questionable behaviour on the part of her acolytes may be ignored.

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